- Frank Cerabino Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
I’m worried that the parade of men in entertainment, the media and politics who are being dragged into the public square as sexual transgressors will never end, and as a result, we will miss enjoying the annual rite of “The War on Christmas.”
This would be a shame. I look forward to “The War on Christmas” every year, which usually metastasizes around the gasbaggery of sanctimonious culture warrior Bill O’Reilly.
But this year, O’Reilly is missing from Fox News after achieving charter-member status in the Creepy Guy Club of 2017. This has left the duty of waging this imaginary war to President Donald Trump, who seemed eager to fill the void by beginning this year’s campaign preposterously early — during the first week in July.
“I remind you that we’re going to start staying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” the president said during a speech a few days before Independence Day.
But it has become just another one of those ridiculous statements made even more ludicrous by the White House invitations to the media for this year’s annual party.
“The President and Mrs. Trump request the pleasure of your company at a Holiday Reception to be held at The White House on Friday, December 1, 2017 at two o’clock,” the invitation says.
Holiday reception? I thought the word “holiday” was the enemy. If Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and people of other religions — or no religion at all — aren’t forced to say and be told “Christmas,” what’s the point of the war?
Oh well, I can’t blame Trump too much for forgetting to remain in character. After all, he’s got Creepy Guy Club problems of his own, not to mention a slew of possibly impeachable entanglements with Russia to dodge.
Luckily for us, we still have Starbucks.
Where would the War on Christmas be without the manufactured dismay over the coffee shop’s festive new cups it unveils every year at this time?
Two years ago, Starbucks had a plain red cup, rather than one that read “Merry Christmas.”
That triggered talks of boycotts from War on Christmas warriors, even though O’Reilly gave the red cups a pass.
“Red is one of the colors of Christmas,” O’Reilly said at the time. “Santa’s outfit is red. Rudolph’s nose is red. The cup’s OK with me.”
But we can’t let Starbucks cups distract us from the mission, O’Reilly continued.
“This kind of stuff diminishes the real problem, when certain companies order their employees not to say the word ‘Christmas,’” O’Reilly said. “That’s what the war is all about.”
Then last year, Starbucks came up with 13 different designs, each drawn by a different woman artist, including six foreign women. The red-and-white cups featured generic holiday designs, such as snowflakes, candy canes and reindeer.
“During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” company Chairman Howard Schultz said about that cup.
It was as if the company had expected Hillary Clinton was going to be the new president, and by picking all women artists with an international twist, it was celebrating feminism and multiculturalism.
But what America got instead was Trump and travel bans.
So this year, Starbucks seemed to go out of its way not to be offensive, once again coming up with a cup with a lot of red and a design showing traditional holiday images such a snow, wrapped gifts and two disembodied arms holding hands.
Holding hands? Wait a second. Those hands both look kind of feminine. Sound the alarm.
“Starbucks continues so-called ‘War on Christmas’ with lesbian positive ad,” the Newsweek headline reads.
The cups were introduced with a short online video that briefly showed what appeared to be two cartoon women holding each other’s hands over a cup of coffee. That image combined with the hand-holding on the cup led some people to imagine that Starbucks was now waging a subtle Gay War on Christmas.
“People are saying Starbucks new holiday cup is totally gay,” the headline on a Buzz Feed News story read.
But are we paying attention? No. We’re too distracted this year.
Men in high places are being felled like trees. How can we get into a lather over what’s on a Starbucks cup when gentle souls like Garrison Keillor are ending up on the naughty list?
Maybe next year, when women are in charge of everything, things will be under control enough to conduct a proper War on Christmas.